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Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Tyler, Jun 17, 2007.
Think about how busy they are, and how many times they probably get asked to see the tech stuff. Well maybe not as much as people ask to see the band but still
level jobs and meet the local crews and union guys and go from there. If you are talking about music/concerts, try to get into the smaller venues and meet people. Usually, those guys that work there everyday also work the larger venues.
Also, if you are in school, use that. When I lived in NY and went to High School and College there, we were able to go backstage at some great venues. They gave us backstage tours at a few dozen houses in NYC, as well as Boston and Providence. I watched Miss Saigon from backstage and CATS from the orchestra pit.
I worked union - local crew stagehand - when I was in college and learned more doing those shows than I did in the technical theatre classes that I took. It was the mid 90's and as a college student, I got to work everything from Garth Brooks to Jewel to GooGoo Dolls, and more (ok...they were good bands at the time). The best part, they paid very well. Anyone that has worked these type of gigs will tell you, work hard, ask questions, and don't try to impress them with your resume or experience. If they like you, they will probably let you lend a hand during the show or at least watch. I got hooked up with the job because I went into a live music club in Albany, NY and offered to work for free in exchange for an "apprenticeship". I went in 2-4 nights a week, and helped load in bands at first, then wired the stage for each show (mic's, DI's, etc...), then monitor engineer, and then FOH engineer. The guys there asked me if I wanted to make some extra money, and I went to work pushing boxes for concerts.
overhire list of your local union, they might call you a lot or none at all. Going up to the sound console 4 min before the headliner walks on, not the way to get backstage. I have done it with lighting people before, but you have to feel it out.
why aren't you on the IA list? also... when you are on any list, do not tell them no enless you have to, the second you do that the odds of you getting called are very small.
Don't you have to be union to be on the IA list?
call list (that is good!) or is local IA will give you your best shot at getting on the call list. And yes, I agree that if you say "no" more than twice, your phone will rarely ring for anymore jobs.
Short version, IATSE, or IA, is the stagehand's union in the US.
As far as meeting touring crew outside of working, it depends. On a one-nighter/split-week tour, you probably can't, because time is crazy tight and depending on how rough the schedule is that week, the crew may be cranky.
In the middle of the week on a tour doing week or longer sit-downs, if you know somebody at the venue, or can find somebody on the tour through one of the websites or industry mailing lists (like the stagecraft or theatre-sound lists), often they'll be more than happy to show you around and/or let you bribe them for the inside scoop in trade for lunch, LOL.
When I was on tour, I met up with a few students in different cities who'd seen that I was on a tour coming through their area and e-mailed to ask if they could check out the show or meet up. When I was able to, I was happy to meet up, although I couldn't always do comp tickets because of company policies.
IATSE to be on the Overhire list. When there are several events happening at the same time they often cannot cannot fill the posistions availible with IA members, so the go to the "over-hire list". I am not IA. I have probably worked as many gigs and made as much money as a lot of guys with their have. Technically, you are only allowed so many hours per calendar year, before you are asked to join. Different areas have different rules. It's a great way to meet the guys that are active in your area. Learn Everybodies Name! one of the best things you can do on an IA call is learn every name you can. If you don't know how to do something ask. You will not impress anyone if you try to do it anyway and do it wrong.
Ok To the point of the thread. I beleive getting on with the local is a great way to go, as is getting on with any local rental/production houses. Whatever you do, be very concientous of peoples time and BS levels. Some guys are not going to mind you asking questions and hanging out, some guys would just as soon lock you up in a caddilac and roll you off the loading dock.
Too bad they don't wear signs explaining what their time or BS level is.
Andy. Thanks for the stagecraft list info. I've just subscribed. (And on a side note, a similar list exists for anyone in the greater Philadelphia area, if anyone here is in Philly.)
I was attempting to talk to our local sound production guy at an event Saturday, just general chat as we're hooking into his sound system to get the feed and he was talking to one of the new guys he had working for him (the guy must have been in his 50s). Anyways I asked what someone would have to do if they wanted to get involved in stuff like what he does. He said start doing it on your own, he's been doing it for 30 years now.
I figured that I wouldn't press him with anymore questions, wether that be actual good advice, just his personality, or he just doesn't like to be asked questions well on the job. So I just left it at that
But that's one way to get into it I suppose, open up your own side thing doing it for small events learn as much as you can and grow. Then again he's also a sound guy and I've heard stories about them.
(not meant to be offensive to any sound guys)
bit before my time. I got into sound originally in 1970/71.
butt down to the front of the stage and talk to whomever you can. I had a student of mine talk her way to a private backstage tour of Miss Saigon with the stage manager.
I take my college tech class to student matinées at the biggest theater in town and I set up a backstage tour for my class ahead of time. For me as the teacher these sorts of things are REALLY easy to set up. You would be amazed at how many options are out there for tech classes. So there's the group field trip approach too.
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